Help with energy bills

cost of living

Help with energy bills

For lots of people in the CF community, energy costs are a big concern, but there is help and support available.

If you're struggling to pay your energy bills, you're not alone. We're here to help.

  • Join the Priority Services Register

    Energy suppliers should provide extra support to people who are vulnerable – this can include people with medical conditions who need a constant supply of energy at home to stay well. It’s important that you let your energy provider know that you or someone in your home has cystic fibrosis (CF).

    The Priority Services Register is a free support service to help people in vulnerable situations with their energy supply. Joining the Priority Services Register ensures you're given advance warning of power cuts, are at the front of the queue when electricity is reconnected, and in some cases could receive portable generators, hot meals and drinks, and alternative accommodation. 

    We’ve written a template letter that you can download and send to your energy supplier to explain why your household should be on the priority services register

    Use this letter to explain CF and the importance of having a warm home this winter. This may help if you’re in debt to your energy supplier, are having any difficult conversations or just need some support explaining your condition to your supplier.

    How to use: 

    • Download the letter
    • Fill in the boxes that are empty with your energy supplier’s information, account details and your name.
    • There’s also a bit at the bottom if you want to explain more about your individual circumstances.
    • Save the letter to your device or print if off.
    • Send this off to your energy provider, by post or email.
  • Prepayment meters

    Prepayment meters are a way of paying for your gas and electricity. With a prepayment meter, you pay small amounts in advance. These ‘top ups’ are then used to pay for the electricity or gas you use in your home. As well as the actual energy costs, prepayment meters will also usually involve a ‘standing charge’ every day, whether or not you use your gas or electricity, and you’ll pay this even if you don’t have any credit on your meter.

    Some people find prepayment meters suit them, and in some parts of the UK they are really common. Moving to a prepayment meter is not generally recommended for people who have a serious health condition, like CF, where going without heat or light might cause a serious problem.

    If you’re not sure if being on a prepayment meter is right for you, Citizens Advice have some useful information to help you decide. You can also contact our Helpline to arrange to speak to our Welfare Officer, or contact Scope’s energy advice service.

    Ofgem, the energy regulator in England, recently published new guidance for energy providers, which means that, from 8 November 2023, energy companies cannot legally force certain people onto a prepayment meter. This includes where someone has a medical need for a warm home, which will be the case for most, if not all, households where someone has cystic fibrosis.

    We have prepared a template letter that you can send to your energy company if they are asking you to move to a prepayment meter. You can also use this letter if you are on a prepayment meter but want to be moved to a credit meter (where you pay a bill for the energy you have used).

    The letter explains why it might not be safe or practical for the home of someone with CF to be on a prepayment meter. There is space for you to add some information about the health of the person with CF in your household.

    How to use: 

    • Download the letter
    • Fill in the boxes that are empty with your energy supplier’s information, account details and your name.
    • There’s also a bit at the bottom if you want to explain more about your individual circumstances.
    • Save the letter to your device or print if off.
    • Send this off to your energy provider, by post or email.

    If you need any help filling in the letter, please contact our Helpline or speak to the specialist social worker on your CF team.

    Fuel vouchers

    If you can’t afford to top up your prepayment meter, you can ask your local council or food bank for a fuel voucher and they may be able to provide one. This is a code given to you in a letter or in a text message or email, which you can use at a PayPoint shop, Payzone shop or Post Office to add credit to your gas card or electricity key.

  • Energy debts

    Being in debt can be stressful and worrying, especially when you need to keep your home warm because someone in the house has cystic fibrosis. There is help available, and it’s important to get support as quickly as possible. You can find lots of helpful information from Citizens Advice, and you can also contact your CF team to find out if you can access support from a specialist social worker.

  • Energy suppliers who offer grants to their customers

    If you are struggling to pay your bill or are worried you won’t be able to pay this winter, it’s important that you contact your energy provider as soon as possible. You can tell them that you, or someone in your household, has cystic fibrosis, and you can use our template letter (see above) to explain why it’s important you have a warm, dry home. Some energy suppliers offer grants to their customers. If you’re energy provider isn’t listed here, you can still contact them and ask if they can provide a grant:

    British Gas Energy Trust (BGET)

    The BGET fund for individuals and families, open to non British Gas customers, is now only available for those on prepayment meters. They priotise people who cannot get a grant from their energy provider. Read about the BGET online application form on the British Gas Energy Trust website.

  • UK Government support

    • The Warm Home Discount Scheme can provide a one-off discount on electricity bills for those on a low income. The discount comes directly off your electricity bill, credited between November and March. The discount will not affect your Cold Weather Payment or Winter Fuel Payment. This year’s scheme opens on 16 October 2023.
    • The Cold Weather Payment is a £25 payment for every week when the average temperature for a postcode area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero or below, between November and March. This year’s scheme will start on 1 November 2022. You’ll be able to check if your area is due a payment from November 2023. The Cold Weather Payment is available to people on certain benefits. If you're eligible to get a Cold Weather Payment you'll get it automatically.
    • The Warm Home Discount Scheme can provide a one-off discount on electricity bills for those on a low income. The money is not paid to you – it comes off your electricity bill, credited between September and March. The discount will not affect your Cold Weather Payment or Winter Fuel Payment.
  • Solid/alternative fuels

    If you are struggling to afford to heat your home, or think you will struggle this winter, and your home uses alternative fuel, such as oil, coal or LPG, you may be able to get financial support.

    If you have oil heating, you may be able to join a local ‘oil club’ where you can get together with other local households to buy oil in bulk, which can reduce the cost.

    Help with bills if you use alternative fuels (Citizens Advice)

  • Energy efficiency at home

    There is lots of advice available about how to stay warm in winter while energy costs are rising, but this often focuses on wearing extra layers and using hot water bottles to stay warm. While this is helpful, people with CF need a warm, dry home environment, so it can also help to look at ways to make your home more energy efficient. This can save money on your bills while also making sure you stay as warm and well as possible. You might be able to access a grant or financial support to make changes to your home.

    Get help with the cost of energy efficiency (Citizens Advice)

    Our welfare grants programme might also be able to help you buy things to help you stay warm this winter or protect your health and wellbeing.

  • Water bills

    Water Sure (England) and Water Sure Wales - The WaterSure scheme allows certain water users to have their bills capped, if you are on a water meter and someone in the home has a medical condition which requires a significant use of water, it’s worth checking out.

    Check if you’d save money by switching to a water meter. Are there are more or the same number of bedrooms in your home as there are people? You can use the Consumer Council for Water's calculator.

    If you’re on a low income or receiving benefits, check what additional assistance your water company offers.

    Check out these ideas from the Consumer Council for Water on how to save water and cut your bills.

  • How we can help

    • Our grants for people with cystic fibrosis can help protect the health of people with CF at times of financial hardship and support access to goods and services needed to stay well with CF.
    • Our benefits advice service can support you to find your way through the welfare benefits system and check you’re getting the right benefits
    • Our income maximisation service can support you to check you’re getting all the financial support available to you and help you make the most out of your money.
    • Contact our Helpline, which can:
      • provide information about any aspect of cystic fibrosis
      • offer a listening ear. We understand things can get tough; our friendly team are here to talk it through
      • translate and help you to understand any overwhelming or complex information
      • signpost to help and assistance available through the Trust, other organisations, and other avenues of support which may be appropriate
      • provide information and guidance about other support and programmes ran here at Cystic Fibrosis Trust including our welfare and grants support.
  • Other support available


Here to help

Our friendly Helpline team are here if you need us - whether you're looking for information, support, or just someone to talk to

Support available

Find out more about the information and services we offer to help people with CF live a life unlimited.

Financial help

We provide a range of grants for people with cystic fibrosis and their families, support for those applying for benefits and information about prescription charges.

Campaigning for cost of living support

Find out more about our campaign to make sure the Government addresses the issues facing the CF community.

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